The only time I'm sad when I hear an engine start for the first time of a season is the first time I start the snowblower
Today in Geek History: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is first published in 1979. Do you know where your towel is?
Found Here: Think Geek Google+
Found Here: Think Geek Google+
One of my goals for Oldbike this riding season was to put 1000 miles on it and be able to trust the bike out on the open road for long distances. I’ve been using it pretty much exclusively for commuting around town and putting around the near outskirts of Madison but that had pretty much been the limits of my riding. I was close to getting to the 1000 mile goal (75 to go) and the season is quickly coming to a close. One of the events that marks the impending hibernation that our motorcycles must go into is the Fall Slimey Crud Café Racer Run. The fall run is always the first Sunday in October, with a corresponding Spring Slimey Crud Café Racer Run that is on the first Sunday in May with the two rides meant to bookend the Wisconsin motorcycle riding season. There is no official route for the run just a starting point of Pine Bluff, WI (most bikes part at The Red Mouse) and the ending point of Leland, WI (Most people parking along the road and across from Sprecher’s Bar). Anyone who rides in the Alphabet Soup, (what moto-riders refer to the vast numbers of lettered county roads of southwest Wisconsin as) has their own favorite roads so why set limits on the routes. It’s about a 100 mile trip if you take a fairly direct route. So that filled the bill for me. I have been wanting to take my Oldbike to the Crud Run since got it running this would be the day!
It was a cold day, I knew it was going to be a cold one so I didn’t even bother looking at the temperature, that true knowledge would not help motivate me. My first layer was my Under Armor cold weather compression top and bottoms, and wool socks. For the bottom the rest was simple just my riding pants and riding boots I figured the air cooled engine might do a little warming for my legs. Up top was a different story I put on a long sleeve t-shirt a zip up fleece and a Carhartt vest and on top of all that I had my riding jacket and it’s zip in liner, for my noggin the Scorpion EXO-1000 helmet and for the hands, my Burton snowboarding gloves. This proved to be just about the right amount of insulation. I made it to The Red Mouse in Pine Bluff at around 11:30am, a little late to see the peak attendance, a lot of the people get there much earlier have coffee, breakfast and bullshit for a while with the bikes starting to leave en-masse around 11:00am. By the time I had downed my coffee and wandered around looking at the bikes I was starting to feel a little warm so I decided it was time to head on up to Leland and cool off a bit.
I stopped by the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and snapped a picture of Oldbike there under it’s own power and looking in much better nick than it was the last time it was there.
Here is the picture I took of Oldbike on the day I picked it up in pretty much exactly the same place, just with a Menard's rental truck underneath it! I thought it was good synchronicity to make a quick stop.
You might not be able to tell in the picture but that is the sign at Leland’s city limits. I had made it there! Oldbike rand good all the way up there holding sustained speeds between 60-70 miles per hour for the trip. The only complaints I got were on some of the steeper hills where the little 423cc engine bogged a bit in top gear and again in fifth when I downshifted too slowly and lose even more forward momentum.
I may have topped off the oil a little too much before I left as I had some oil seeping from the 30+ year old valve cover gasket!
But really Oldbike was none the worse for wear after making the trip, I think it was happy to be amongst friends of a similar vintage. I actually passed three other bikes of a similar age that looked about twice as pretty that had left their pilots stranded on the side of the road with unknown mechanical or electrical issues. It did make me feel a little crazy but I trusted the work I had done on the bike and my trust was rewarded.
I bellied up to Sprecher’s Bar and choosing to circumvent Junior’s “Famous” salami sandwich in favor of a Sloppy Joe and some hot chocolate. As I warmed myself inside I was amazed at how a place like this had managed to stay open for over 100 years, and felt buoyed the fact that the Slimey Crud Café Racer Run probably plays a big part in keeping this bar where you can drink a bourbon and buy a gun at the same time afloat throughout the rest of the year!
It’s definitely a point of pride for Junior the owner and he updates the newspaper clipping with new peak attendance records when pertinent! You can see the web version of this article if you follow this link.
Having filled my eyes with enough vintage goodness for the day, pointed Oldbike back home and on my back through Sauk City I rolled over the 21000 mile mark accomplishing another goal for the year! We can probably count on our two hands how many truly good riding days that there are left before the riding season is truly over and on one hand, the good days that we will actually be free to ride. Looking ahead towards the off-season I’ve got plans to rebuild the front brake and get new pads and shoes all around. I plan on removing and inspecting the forks cleaning the internals and replacing fork seals if necessary. I’ll be learning about swingarm bushings and working to enhance the swingarm pivot and inspecting the rear shocks and assessing their performance/condition. New tires are on part of the plan too and of course a tear-down and inspection of the engine and it’s internals is on tap too. So stay tuned and I’ll try my best to keep myself and you entertained with more Oldbike goodness!
As always, thanks for reading!
One more post script Return of the Cafe Racers has a little write up I'd like to share about the Slimey Crud Café Racer Run. If you want to learn more make sure you look at the other hyper-linked test throughout the post there's some good stuff in there!
If you know what this is from, you're down...
It's from Honda's NR500 Grand Prix Racer, per Wikipedia: Whereas the NR500 had used an oval piston with straight sides (above) the road going NR750 used an elliptical piston with curved long sides (below).
While we're on the subject of Honda engines that were strange. Here's a 5 cylinder 125cc.
More old high tech Honda...